Taoiseach and Tánaiste 'will meet to discuss apology to Magdalene women'

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore are to meet to discuss the need for a full state apology to Magdalene laundries women, backbenchers have privately revealed today.

Labour politicians said they had been given assurances that party leader Minister Gilmore would impress on the Taoiseach the importance of meeting the needs and demands of the women put to work in the laundries.

“These women were maltreated for years and years, and they now need to be honoured and vindicated. And that requires an apology from the state,” said one backbencher who would not be named.

“It should be done as soon as possible. The longer the Taoiseach puts it off, the more difficult it will be.

“It’s a question of getting the Taoiseach to realise the public opinion and what it requires of him. This is not just about the Labour Party, but what the public wants.”

Labour politicians met at lunchtime to discuss the fallout from the report ahead of the meeting of Fine Gael politicians.

Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald says the comments of Labour TDs today show a clear division between the Government parties.

"I have to imagine that there's tensions within Government on this matter," she said.

"I'd be very honest with you, I'd be really, really disappointed if that weren't the case.

"I think if this isn't a red-line issue for people in Government - be that in Ministerial office or the backbenches - well then I don't know what is."

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